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The U-Pol AutoRaise Rally breaks fundraising record!

The three-day 2022 U-Pol AutoRaise Rally looks set to break the £150,000 fundraising barrier after an enormous effort by a total of 62 teams and cars and 150 people. With over 21,000 miles covered in total by all cars, it was an epic journey.

The convoy of classic, vintage and well-loved cars driven by colleagues from across the accident repair industry completed a total of 340 miles, driving from Caffeine & Machine in Stratford-Upon-Avon to Aberystwyth on day one. Camp for night one was the foot of a valley in bell tents at Tynrhyd Retreat with a BBQ catered by Holden Catering and plenty of dancing to the brilliant band, The Wilderminds, and ace DJ Nilesh Parmar, on the Service Certainty Live Stage.

After a great night’s sleep (!) the group set off for Cardiff via the Brecon Beacons, driving on some of the most scenic roads in the UK past reservoirs, waterfalls and mega bridges. On arrival at St David’s VOCO in Cardiff, Thatcham Research hosted a Gala Dinner where the official Rally awards were presented:

Fancy Dress – Team Baywatch (GT Motive): Richard Edwards, Martyn Rowley & Luke Le Souter

Veteran Car – Porsche 928: National Windscreens / Industry Insights

· The Porsche 928, driven by National Windscreens this year (making its third Tally appearance) has raised more than £20,000 in total over the three rallies.

Best Design: Gemini’s John Henderson, Renault Dauphine

Best Design: ‘banger’ – Gemini Rotherham, Craig Hand VW Beetle

Best Photo: The Prasco team for their arty shadow shot

Best fundraising: Martyn Rowley (at the time of writing) had raised £3145, closely followed by Gemini Rotherham with £3110, and National Windscreen on £2,850.

The Veteran Driver: a number of candidates for this award; Rye Street Group’s Billy Duffy and Lee McNaughton, Neil Parker from Fix Auto Dagenham, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s James Titchener, but the winner was Martyn Rowley

Oldest Car on the Grid: the Austin A30 driven by Steven Hames, Solera

Steve Thompson, AutoRaise Vice Chairman and Director at Industry Insights, thanked Headline Sponsor, U-Pol. U-Pol’s partnership is invaluable, said Steve, in making the Rally a reality, to enable vital fundraising to continue supporting AutoRaise to get young people into our amazing industry. Steve also thanked supporting sponsors, SYNETIQ, Axalta, and Egertons Recovery Group, whose brilliant team got two Rally cars back up and running during the event.

“The challenges this industry faces are well known by all in this room: the skills shortage is critical and AutoRaise is here for one reason: to promote apprenticeships in the bodyshop sector to young people to secure the future of this brilliant industry,” said Steve.

“AutoRaise has directly impacted on 500 apprenticeship starts in the industry and secured more than £1 million levy funding. The money raised from this Rally, from the sponsors, from your fundraising, will help us continue this important work.”

Steve thanked the Trustees, and Dave Sargeant AutoRaise Chairman and Managing Director of Gemini ARC, paid tribute to the teams, the apprentices who have worked on many of the Rally vehicles, and the businesses whose support made the 2022 U-Pol AutoRaise Rally “the best ever!”

Jason Hopkins, Sales Director at U-Pol, thanked all for “a brilliant few days: excellent organisation and with great people all set in my beloved Wales – what more could you want! The money raised so far is amazing, really well done everyone,”

Rally veteran Martyn Rowley, GT Motive, said “I love this industry so much and hope that all the enthusiasm and energy you all showed over the last few days gets passed on to any new person entering into it. Made my year again, everyone.”

Brett Wootton, Regional Operations Manager at Gemini ARC, said: “My first rally and what a thing to behold, loved it guys and the fact it has had such an effect for the charity is a double whammy, great people, great industry, great event.”

During the rally teams were able to upload images, plus drone footage taken by a professional from Service Certainty’s nationwide network of professional drone pilots. The edited footage will be shared shortly.

Kelly Dalwood

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